Market Lavington Museum

John Merritt again

In our past two blog posts, we have looked at aspects of John Merritt junior’s life, focussing on the newspaper articles printed at the time of his death in 1958.

Our previous blog dealt with his working life as a blacksmith and then owner of a bicycle and motor business. Before that, we considered his huge involvement with Market Lavington Prize Silver Band. His musical contribution to the village also included over fifty years’ involvement with St Mary’s Church choir, singing with them from boyhood and acting as their choirmaster for over thirty years.

However, during his 89 year long life, he had other attachments too. He was married with three daughters. This photo is of his wife, Annie.

He was also captain of the local fire brigade.

John Merritt was the secretary of the local branch of the Oddfellows, a friendly society which offered mutual support to its members, especially in times of sickness, before the existence of the National Health Service. He was also secretary to the Devizes branch of National Farriers.

When he was fifteen, John Hampton Merritt joined the Wiltshire Volunteers and was then a member of the Old Volunteers for thirty years. He won trophies for his rifle shooting.

We are very grateful to the people who preserved these newscuttings, giving us a glimpse into life and lives of Market Lavington in times gone by. It is obvious from these articles, written at the time of his death, that John Hampton Merritt was a well loved and respected member of his local community throughout his long life.